police, fire, and emergency-medical service stations. At the event, parents were also offered fingerprinting and photo kits to take home and utilize in the event that a child goes missing.
Firetrucks from the Mountaintop Hose Company and the Wright Township Volunteer Fire Department parked on the side of the field and drew in many. Children marveled at the equipment inside the trucks as each had its storage compartments open to show the various tools firefighters use.
Two-year-old Michael Bell, who loves firetrucks, showed no fear as he climbed in the cab of one. Meanwhile, two young brothers, Brady and Deacon Kolodgie, gazed upward in amazement at the length of the fully stretched ladder that extended high in the sky from one of the trucks.
A group of firemen from both departments stood nearby fraternizing with residents. “It’s good for us to see the public in a good way and not in a car accident or something,” related Gregg Gerko, a Wright Township fireman. Dave Pettit, Wright’s fire chief, agreed, adding that, most times, residents see them during a “moment of disaster” and it’s nice to connect with the public in better situations.
Later in the event, those in attendance got to see a life-flight helicopter, used to transport injured victims to the hospital, and also tour an ambulance from Mountaintop Emergency Medical Services.
Officer David Allen, of the Pa Game Commission’s Bureau of Wildlife Protection, was at the National Night Out with his dog, Skye, a gentle Labrador retriever. She’s one of three dogs who work for the commission and was happy to greet children at the event.
Skye, who is also Allen’s family pet, does wildlife detection for the Game Commission and is often called in by local police for tracking and evidence detection. With a nose that can pick up scent 400 times better than a human’s, Skye has been used, among other things, to find missing persons, such as elderly who’ve wandered from nursing homes.
Of the National Night Out, Allen related, “It’s nice to get the policemen and the community together. Community events like this are needed in today’s world.”
In the next booth, Officer Nick Finicle, of the Pa Capital Police, showed interested children and adults a spread of equipment his special response team uses in events such as that of an active shooter or felony warrant arrest. Among the tools were an ax, rifle, grenade launcher, and bullet-proof vest, with pockets containing a radio, first-aid kit, and extra magazines.
Finicle allowed Savannah Eustice to try on a gas mask. She was excited to do so while her siblings stood back in hesitation. Another boy came by and Finicle handed him a battering ram, used to break down doors. The boy nearly fell over by the weight of the instrument and traded it in for a chance to hold a body shield, with a small window for officers to view the dangers before them. “We’re reaching out to the
community,” Finicle said, adding of his equipment, “Even though it’s big and bad and scary, we show them that we’re the nice guys. We use these things to help people and keep them safe.”